© 2018-2019 Chelsea Guo


The Wall Street Journal 


Summer 2018


UX Designer


Competitive analysis, Wireframing, Prototyping



Better way to say goodbye to users

In summer 2018, I interned in The Wall Street Journal Product Design team as a UX Designer working on multiple projects. The WSJ Membership Hub - Cancellation Save Project was one of them. 


The old WSJ customer center was confusing for users to use and users were more often calling WSJ customer service instead of using the online customer center for most of their account changes. One of the biggest issues was users cannot cancel their memberships online. 


The goal for this project was to enable digital cancellations for Wall Street Journal members to better manage their subscriptions. We aimed to increase self help, reduce the angry phone calls to customer services, increase engagement on the site, and retain our customers. 


Create the system that best cater user needs

My role for this project was mainly working on competitive analysis, user flow, wireframes and hi-fi prototype of cancellation screens for the WSJ Membership Hub. The first version of Membership Hub was launched as a test in California.


Define the project goal and gather insights


TO synthesize the data collected and find out the common themes, we did the affinity diagram to frame the essential needs:
 The business goals are:
1. Increase user retention
2. Reduce customer service calls

Top 5 WSJ cancellation reasons

According to the research document I received from Customer Experience team, the top 5 cancellation reasons are: 
1. Not needed anymore
2. Too expensive
3. No time/too busy
4. Student no longer needs for class/Prefers other DJ products/package
5. Auto-Renew not wanted 

User's pain points

" I'm extremely annoyed by the process you have to go through to cancel a subscription. Instead of being able to cancel online, you have to actually call them and their agents just keep trying to make me stay and advertising things I really don't want. Horrible experience." 
" Bad customer service. cannot cancel digital subscriptions online, must call and put on hold. They had no trouble signing me up and began taking my money online." 
" Beware if you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal because they make it very hard to cancel. You can't do it online, you can't email, you have to call." 

Competitive analysis 

After understanding the problem, project goal and users' pain points, I jumped into the competitive analysis to get big picture of how WSJ was doing in the market, I looked at major direct competitors including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Financial Times, and The Economist. I also researched on some indirect competitors (IT companies) that did really well in offboarding experience including Amazon, Netflix, LinkedIn, and Adobe. By comparing their policies and features, I found some opportunities for our online cancellation experience: 
  • Provide different cancellation options
  • Provide special offer when users are cancelling their subscriptions
  • Listen to why users are leaving



Final solution

After gathering some insights from the research part, I sketch out the user flow and wireframes on paper. Along the design phase, I constantly held meetings with product design team, PM, engineers, and marketing to validate my design decisions and ask feedback. 
1. Cancellation options
Users will be asked to choose a cancellation option:
  • Disable auto-renew
  • Cancel immediately 
The Disable Auto-renew option was added because in that way, users can still be contacted prior to cancellation with a special offer. And there is a better chance of them to come back in the future.
I decided to show users Disable Auto-renew option before Cancel Immediately option as I want to encourage users to keep their membership. 
2. Ask for feedback
If users choose cancel their membership immediately, they will be asked to choose the reason why they are cancelling their memberships. 
I designed this section because this could help WSJ to understand why users are leaving. The data collected from the survey could help WSJ to improve user experience.
Drop down menu was added for this section after user testing, since this could save space and avoid overwhelming user. 
3. Special offer
Then, a special offer will be provided to user. 
In order to increase user retention, I decided to highlight the accept offer button in default. This could encourage user to accept the offer and maintain the membership with us. 
4. Prevent sudden cancellation 
In order to prevent sudden cancellation, I decided to design a page asking users to confirm their cancellation.
I used red color to highlight the question to improve the discoverability. The outcome of the action is also explained under the question because I want to make sure user understand the policy of cancellation. 
I also restated the action in the button to avoid confusing user. 
5. Notify user after cancelling
After cancelling the memberships, a confirmation page will be shown. This could provide customer with a clear confirmation that the subscription has been cancelled.
User then can click the button to go back to the account page. 


The first version of the whole Membership Hub was launched as a test late October 2018. So far the results look promising in accomplishing the goals of reducing customer service calls.


This was one of the last internship projects at the WSJ and I am proud of what I have created. But I still think this solution is no where near finished. For future steps:
  • Validate the design solution with more user testings
  • Add a progress bar
  • Improve UX writing


 Constraints are good. They might be limiting, but they also challenge me to think of new ways to do things without disturbing existing patterns. The Wall Street Journal has a well-established design guideline which helps me to focus on finding the best UX solution and creating consistent UI experience for our customers.
Asking questions and communicating design decisions are very important as this could help me to know the technical boundaries and get the valuable feedback from peers at the early stage, so I don't have to redo my work all over again after finishing the hi-fidelity prototypes. Reach out to PM as early as possible, set up a regular feedback loop and build a good relationship with PM would be helpful for creating success products. 
The time for doing the UX design work on some urgent projects is limited in the real world. Different UX situations call for different UX processes. It’s a strength to understand the context and limitation, and determine a process that’s best fits for the situation. As a UX designer, I can have a set of processes, or a set of tools that I can use, but it depends on each situation when choosing appropriate strategies so that they can have right fit.